New Western Australian Branch Chair Tony Howes highlights what he loves about his hometown of Perth, and what visitors should look out for

Describe Perth in three words.
Creative, casual, and elegant.

The city has so many things to see, what are your highlights?
Right in Perth’s heart, Kings Park, at over 4,000 hectares, is one of the world’s largest and most beautiful inner city parks, rich in Aboriginal and European history, and is home to the spectacular Western Australian Botanic Garden, which displays over 3,000 species of the state’s unique flora. Winding past the Park, another highlight, the Swan River, links Perth Hills with yet another highlight, the historic port of Fremantle with its art galleries, maritime museum, ‘haunted’ colonial former prison and market stalls where just about anything is on sale.

How long have you lived there? How has it changed over the years?
I was born in Perth, educated in Sydney, returned to Perth to begin my theatre and broadcasting career, which, in turn, took me to live for periods in the Eastern States, London and the UK – but, have always ‘come home’. The changes I have seen are in size and population; the character, mercifully, has remained – a friendly, energetic, and very clean city.

How are residents handling coronavirus restrictions?
We have been very lucky in Western Australia with few restrictions beyond closed State and National Borders, together with hand washing, etc., and social distancing, being responsible for stable control of the virus for some time now. Limited concerts, churches open, and gatherings have enabled a certain sense that a healthy quality of life is attainable.

When we are all able to travel again, what advice would you give to first-time visitors? Are there any must sees?
In planning a visit to Perth, never overlook the fact that the state itself is a large one! Give thought to including a visit north to (say) the Kimberley region – there are exciting small boat cruises, with helicopters on board so as to visit inland to gorges and spectacular rock formations; or south to Albany and its surrounds, with the giant Karri forests and wine tours en route. In the city, you should visit the spectacular new Museum, heritage buildings such as His Majesty’s Theatre, St George’s Cathedral and Government House; and more wine in the nearby Swan Valley.

When is the best time of year to visit?
There is something happening all year round, but highlights occurring in spring (September, October) include the displays of spectacular wild flowers, while in summer (February, March) the Festival of Perth and the Fringe Festival give you music of all styles, theatre, and exhibitions galore. The cooler months give way to various events including the Avon River Descent where ‘boaties’ with craft of all dimensions race the rapids from Perth Hills into the city, via the Swan River. Trips to our local holiday isle of Rottnest, clearly visible from our city’s sandy beaches are great at any time, and there, the only place in the world where you may snap a selfie with the cuddly quokka in its own home.


Born in Perth, Tony became Branch Chair in July 2020. He also currently serves as Director of Special Programmes (Arts & Information) for Capital Radio (Western Australia, Arts Columnist for Messenger magazine (WA) and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Midnite Youth Theatre Company

The changes I have seen are in size and population; the character has remained – a friendly, energetic and very clean city